Lawyer who Defends Corporations Accused of Creating Toxic Pollution Sues Neighbor for Smoking Inside his own House
When she’s not defending corporate polluters accused of releasing toxic substances, Nessa Coppinger is in court suing her neighbor for smoking in the privacy of his own home.
Coppinger is a principal of the firm Beveridge & Diamond, where she takes the lead on cases of corporations being sued for harming the environment. One example, found by Republic Report, has Coppinger defending Suncoke Energy, Inc., whose operations have allegedly produced “sludge-like deposits, strong odors, particulates, lead, mercury, arsenic, chromium, creosote, coal tar pitch, coal tar pitch volatiles” hydrocarbons, sulfur dioxide and other substances.
The 38-year-old lawyer, along with her husband, Brendan (also a lawyer) are suing their Washington, D.C., neighbor Edwin Gray because smoke from his cigarettes and marijuana was filtering into the Coppinger’s home.
Nessa Coppinger told The Washington Post that Gray’s smoking was “a health concern” for them and their child. “We don’t smoke,” Coppinger said. “We don’t allow smoking in our home.”
An inspection of the homes found a crack in Gray’s chimney was allowing smoke into the Coppinger home.
They want Gray, and his sister who owns the house, to pay them $500,000 in damages for negligence, nuisance and trespassing, saying the smoke has intruded on their property. They’ve already gotten D.C. Superior Court Judge Ronna Lee Beck to issue an order banning smoking in Gray’s house.
“I’m a nervous wreck,” Gray, who lives on disability checks, told The Washington Post. “I’m a grown man. They passed a law that says you can smoke marijuana in my house. I can’t do anything now. What if I’m in here frying chicken and they complain they smell smoke? She going to send the marshals to come get me?”
-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley
To Learn More:
Lawyer Suing Neighbor for Smoking Is Defender of Corporations Accused of Toxic Smoke (by David Halperin, Republic Report)
D.C. Neighbors’ Sparring Over Secondhand Smoke Lands In Court (by Keith Alexander, Washington Post)
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